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15.08.2015 - Ausgabe: 4/2015

Urban rope landscapes in Copenhagen


In Copenhagen there are more than 100 public play areas. Approximately a quarter of them are on school playgrounds. This summer a new schools is to be opened and it will, of course, have a special playground on its grounds. 

New school grounds in Sydhaven

In Copenhagen‘s modern Sydhaven district, under the project management of the Copenhagen-based architecture company, JJW Architekter, new school grounds were built on an area of over 10,000 m² - Sydhavensskolen. The motto goes “Skolen ud i byen – Byen ind i skolen”, roughly translated as “school into town – town into school”. This concept applies inside and outside of the school grounds.

The 200-million complex construction project was hit hard in November 2013 as the result of a fire. Parts of the project had to be completely rebuilt.   

Now the school is the new flagship in the area. The inside of the school is set out like a diverse town in which the different rooms can be perceived as being a town-typical mix of houses, workshops, shops, streets and places.      

The whole building is arranged in tiers on five levels. The focal point of the conception of the classrooms was to create a good indoor climate thanks to the optimal level of daylight. The classes are split across the five levels according to ages. The younger pupils are in the rooms on the lower levels and the older pupils are divided between the top two levels.     

Each level has its own spacious area outside which can be accessed using spacious steps outside the building. The landscape architecture company, PK3, was commissioned for the design of the outside area.


5 play areas for 5 levels     

The different play facilities and the climbing apparatus on the individual levels are the core element of the areas outside. The common design language enables the individual play areas to be unified. The partner for the planning and implementation was Berliner Seilfabrik.

The architects decided on combinations for the “Terranos Netscapes”. A product group of Berliner Seilfabrik, which is made up of low-level rope garden elements. Ropes, nets, bridges, hammocks, rubber elements and other accessories are stretched between posts. This means that new netscapes are always appearing. The flexible clamps on the steel posts allow the individual measurement of all climbing elements. Ropes, chains and pipes can be attached directly by clamps.  

Berliner has been manufacturing the ropes themselves for the past 150 years. This ensures that the quality and the technical specification of the ropes meet all the high standards. The direct influence on the manufacturing allows the play equipment manufacturer the highest possible degree of flexibility in order to respond better to customers’ wishes. The coating of the individual outer strands with polyester yarns in carpet yarn quality guarantees high abrasion resistance. 

Different age groups come together in one school. The different climbing elements, which consist of fixed ropes close to floor level, allow play and fun for children with different abilities. Thus, a rope landscape in this sense offers all users a challenge and the scope to make the most of break and recreation periods by means of different functions such as climbing, hanging, swinging and also relaxation.     

On levels 0, 1 and 2, playgrounds were created on areas of space measuring 60m² to 160m², which challenge pupils close to the ground or up to a height of almost 3 metres. The mix of straight and bevelled posts gives the unit on level 2 a dynamic look and, thus, revives the urban motto of the construction project. It is not just for the purposes of recreation breaks, but also for the sports lesson, that a football pitch is next to the climbing equipment.  

On the third floor there is a smaller, but particularly sculptural, climbing element. Here are three criss-cross, slanted posts. The posts form the beginning and the end. A rubber membrane is spread between them. This rubber membrane is again attached to the posts with ropes. Rubber members form the ideal complementary material for the rope. They are flexible, bring exercise into play and also offer the chance to relax. 

On the top floor, there are three sport and play areas. Firstly, a kind of parkour which leads users across rope ladders to a nested field made from rubber membranes. In addition, streetball facilities which gets basketball players’ hearts racing. It should not just serve its purpose solely for recreation breaks, but also become part of the sports lesson. Just like the horizontal bars nearby. The gymnasts’ paradise, arranged on different heights, turns the pigs’ pen into child’s play.

Special installation on the roof

For the play equipment on the school grounds, 63 posts were built. On the lowest level, the climbing frame could be installed as standard. The posts are positioned in the foundation trenches on the foundation plate, then the concrete is moulded, and if the foundation is allowed to set, the post is firmly and safely anchored in the ground. On all other levels of the Sydhaven project, the ground required a special installation, since it forms both the roof of the classrooms and the corridors. Therefore, it was not possible to use thick concrete blocks. This referred back to a special customer-oriented anchoring process. The posts were wielded onto large steel plates and strengthened with gussets. These plates are firmly fixed on to the concrete surface with the help of shear connectors and thread bolts. The bolts and plates are coated using coloured EPDM fall protection material.


All in white

The colour concept of all play and sports equipment is captivating thanks to its consistency and clarity. All posts are coated in a matt white. All steel posts are powder-coated in the zinc-epoxy-polyester process and have an exterior diameter of 133m. The ropes between them come in a natural beige colour. In its artistic composition, the play equipment conveys a feeling of freedom all at once. Freedom to choose your own path. Whether that be for playing, at school or in life.   


Photo: Berliner Seilfabrik

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